CSR, green efforts could use less talk, more action

It appears that marketers are going to wave the flags of corporate social responsibility and "going green" in the faces of consumers more than ever this year. And, really, that should come as no surprise to anyone.

It appears that marketers are going to wave the flags of corporate social responsibility and "going green" in the faces of consumers more than ever this year. And, really, that should come as no surprise to anyone.

Marketers have definitely become more attuned to the fact that consumers - in particular those in the Gen X, Y, and young boomer demographics - are looking to do business with brands that can show they stand for something other than the dollar. But at this point, it's mostly been a lot of promises from a lot of companies.

Some, such as Gap and Dell, have taken action, but they are a few of the exceptions among a bigger group of companies that either execute one-off type CSR campaigns or just make empty gestures.

The two industries that could actually be doing and benefiting the most from CSR and green efforts are the automotive and oil industries. And as the automotive show season gets under way, consumers can expect to see almost every major auto manufacturer roll out some new-concept electric-powered or hybrid car and hear how they're going to have millions of these cars on the road by 2010.

This is what drives consumers crazy: They're tired of seeing and hearing about these concepts and projected numbers that may or may not come to fruition.

One of the big topics of discussion at last year's North American International Auto Show in Detroit was GM's Volt concept car, which promises all-electric, gas-free driving for 40-mile stretches and an extended driving range up to 600 miles. But again, these are promises based on a concept car.

Being as so many companies are talking green, talk, as they say, has become cheap. Nothing in today's hyperaware society gets over the din like action.

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